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The critical importance of information security within healthcare

At a time when digital communication is at the core of our professional and personal interactions, data security is becoming increasingly important. This is even more true in the medical sector, where protecting sensitive patient information is of paramount importance. Doctolib Siilo, as a leading secure messaging app for healthcare professionals, recognizes the vital role of information security. In this article, Jordi van Duyne and Paul Willems of Doctolib Siilo explain why data security is so crucial and how Doctolib Siilo is leading the way in this regard.

1. Protection of patient data

Healthcare professionals share sensitive information about patients on a daily basis. This data includes medical history, diagnoses, treatments and personal information. A data breach can not only have serious implications for patient privacy, but also lead to legal and financial repercussions for healthcare facilities. The security of our products is included in our design process right from the beginning. We call this security by design. In addition, we also consider privacy by design, where the privacy of users is ensured from the beginning.”

Encryption and authentication
At Doctolib Siilo, we ensure that all communications are end-to-end encrypted, meaning that only the sender and receiver have access to the shared information. Should someone break in,’ they cannot decrypt the data. This also applies to messaging between multiple recipients and senders. We ourselves cannot see or look up anything either. Message traffic is also fully encrypted for us.

In a multidisciplinary consultation, we still always recommend discussing cases anonymously and verifying that all participants are the right people. In addition to encryption of messages, we have a strict verification process for users. Everyone who downloads the app is verified by our user team to confirm that they really are who they say they are and work in the medical field. To do this, we perform an extensive check on their right to practice (E.g. BIG registration in the Netherlands), among other things. Should a healthcare professional start a chat with an unverified person, they will immediately receive a warning. A user is also automatically logged out and must log in again each time using a pin code.This provides an extra layer of security that comparable apps such as WhatsApp do not. Another big difference with WhatsApp is that messages are automatically deleted after 30 days.”


Sharing photos and other files
Another additional privacy benefit for healthcare professionals is that private and business remain separate by using Doctolib Siilo. Files and photos shared in Doctolib Siilo do not show up among private files and photos on the user’s phone. Also, a healthcare professional has the ability to blur photos before they are shared.”

Quote Paul Willems
At Doctolib Siilo, we ensure that all communication is end-to-end encrypted, meaning that only the sender and receiver have access to the shared information. Should someone break in,’ they cannot decrypt the data.”
Paul Willems, Data Protection Officer

2. Prevention of cyber threats

Cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and targeted, with healthcare as one of the main targets. Ransomware attacks, phishing and other forms of cybercrime can have enormous adverse effects. Doctolib employs a proactive and layered form of security, this includes the use of advanced firewalls, real-time monitoring and regular security updates to identify and neutralize potential threats before they can do damage.”

Doctolib acquisition
With Doctolib’s acquisition of Siilo, we can now be at an even higher level of compliance and security. Doctolib, with all its platforms, has a huge amount of patient data – somewhere between 60 and 70 million. We have extended the stringent compliance and security requirements to Doctolib Siilo as well.This has helped to further strengthen the platform, making us even better equipped to ensure the privacy of our users.”

Data security is number one
At Doctolib, we strive to foster a culture of awareness and responsibility regarding information security. Annually, we organize awareness activities in which all employees participate. We refer back to our information security policy and discuss the guidelines everyone should know. These sessions end with a quiz to verify that all employees have understood and applied the essential information. Our developers are specifically trained in incorporating privacy by design into all of our product development processes. They attend regular training programs, with modules focused on privacy awareness, phishing control and the importance of complex passwords. These periodic trainings allow our team to constantly stay abreast of the latest developments and best practices in information security.”

3. Compliance with laws and regulations.

Healthcare professionals must be confident that the digital tools they use are secure. Confidence in a secure communication environment allows them to collaborate more effectively and deliver better care. With features such as two-step verification, encrypted backups and secure message storage, Doctolib Siilo provides a highly secure infrastructure that will hopefully give healthcare professionals peace of mind.”

The healthcare industry is highly regulated with strict laws and regulations, such as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in Europe. These regulations require healthcare facilities to take strict measures to protect patient data.

Doctolib Siilo complies with these regulations by applying advanced security protocols and undergoing regular audits to ensure compliance. Our data centers are located in Europe and meet the strictest security criteria for data storage. We have a team that checks daily for unusual behavior and potential threats.

NEN 7510 and ISO 27001
Doctolib Siilo is certified to the NEN 7510 and ISO 27001 standards. Behind the acquisition of the ISO 27001 and NEN 7510 standards is a comprehensive range of measures necessary to achieve and maintain these certifications. These include thorough risk assessments, backup policies and a solid business continuity plan. Our approach includes a comprehensive bundle of organizational and technical measures covering all aspects of information security, giving us a complete set of security protocols.

Penetration and stress testing
In addition to the audits we go through for these certifications, we regularly conduct penetration and stress tests on various means to identify potential weaknesses in our systems. These tests are conducted by external, independent parties and are an integral part of our information security policy. It is our policy at Doctolib Siilo to repeat these tests annually, not just as part of an audit, but as a proactive measure to continuously improve the security of our systems.”

Development of new features
When developing new features, privacy and security is a mandatory part of every phase. From the very beginning, this aspect is carefully considered by our product owners and engineers. Each project plan includes a specific section dedicated to privacy and security, ensuring that these principles are integrated into our development processes from the very beginning.”

Jordi Horizontaal01 2
With features such as two-step verification, encrypted backups and secure message storage, Doctolib Siilo provides a highly secure infrastructure that will hopefully give healthcare professionals peace of mind.”
Jordi van Duyne, Security Officer

4. Innovation within healthcare

In the context of increasing capacity pressures within healthcare, innovations in communication are essential for improved patient care and more efficient practices. Doctolib Siilo’s secure messenger environment enables the integration of new digital solutions without compromising on security. This enables healthcare professionals to take advantage of the latest technologies and methods while maintaining the integrity of patient data.

5. Technology can save lives

It is essential for a healthcare organization to be accessible at all times. Especially when it comes to hospitals. For example, if there is a power outage, the consequences can be catastrophic. An alternative line of communication can then literally save lives. Doctolib Siilo has proven to be a reliable and effective solution for secure communication, even in challenging situations such as a data breach or other communication issues at healthcare organizations. In a recent incident where a hospital in Ireland was temporarily unreachable, Doctolib Siilo proved to be a valuable communication tool to continue communication. This led to significant growth in the use of Doctolib Siilo in Ireland and even resulted in the transition to Doctolib Siilo as the standard communication tool in the healthcare sector.”

Conclusion

Data security is not an optional luxury; it is a fundamental requirement for any organization working with sensitive information, especially in the healthcare industry. Doctolib Siilo understands this better than anyone else and is committed to maintaining the highest security standards. By investing in advanced security technologies and protocols, Doctolib Siilo ensures that healthcare professionals can communicate securely and focus on what really matters: delivering high-quality care to patients.

Doctolib Siilo invites all healthcare professionals to secure their communications and contribute to a safe and efficient healthcare environment. Together, we can meet the challenges of modern times and ensure a secure future for the medical industry.